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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

Colleges double spending to fight regulations

For-profit colleges more than doubled spending on lobbying and hired six former members of the U.S. Congress this year to fight regulations that threaten the industry.

Ten education companies and their trade association spent $3.8 million on lobbying in the first nine months of 2010, up from $1.5 million in the comparable period last year, according to reports filed with Congress.

For-profit colleges are resisting a U.S. Department of Education proposal to restrict funding and objecting to a law that limits their revenue from government sources.

Education companies are permitted by law to get as much as 90 percent of their revenue from federal student aid, and some are close to the limit. The companies want to change the law or extend an exemption on some revenue that currently expires in 2011.

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Gillette cuts Woods

Tiger Woods' endorsement deal with Procter & Gamble Co.'s Gillette division will end next week, USA Today reported, following through on a plan the company announced last year.

The newspaper quoted Gillette spokesman Michael Norton as saying the company will not renew its relationship with Woods as part of a plan to phase out its Gillette Champions marketing program in the first quarter of 2011.

Gillette also will cut ties with soccer players Thierry Henry, Kaka, Rafa Marquez and Lionel Messi and other athlete endorsers around the world, Norton told the newspaper. Gillette will retain endorsement ties with other athletes.

In December 2009, Norton said Procter & Gamble would begin phasing Woods out of print and TV ads for its Gillette division.

-- Bloomberg News

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Toyota to pay $10 million

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A lawyer says Toyota Motor Corp. agreed to pay $10 million to the family of four people killed in a runaway Lexus crash last year that led to recalls of millions of the automaker's vehicles.

Attorney Larry Willis, who represents the dealership that lent the Lexus, released the amount Thursday to the Los Angeles Times.

The dealership was privy to the confidential September settlement but has not yet reached a deal with those who sued it.

A Los Angeles judge Monday denied a motion by Toyota and the plaintiffs to keep the settlement sealed. Toyota had 48 hours to file a stay with a California appeals court.

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M&T leaving Lackawanna

M&T Bank Corp. is planning to close its Lackawanna office and consolidate the business and accounts into a nearby office in South Buffalo, according to a filing with state banking regulators.

The Buffalo-based bank has notified the state Banking Department that it plans to close its branch at 2731 South Park Avenue on March 11, 2011. The three branch employees will be offered other jobs at the bank.

Spokesman Chet Bridger said the bank decided to close the leased office and consolidate it into the Dorrance Avenue branch "after looking at the trends in bank transactions over recent years."

Specifically, he said most customers in that area use either the Dorrance office, which has a larger staff, more parking and a full range of services, or a nearby branch on Lake Avenue in Blasdell.

The state is taking public comments on the plan through Jan. 17.

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Portugal downgraded

LONDON (AP) -- Portugal's credit rating was downgraded Thursday by the Fitch Ratings agency amid mounting concerns over the country's ability to raise money in the markets to finance its hefty borrowings.

Fitch said it was reducing its rating on the country's debt by one notch to A from AA- and warned that further downgrades may be in the offing by maintaining its negative outlook.

The downgrade follows a warning this week from Moody's Investor Services that it may cut its A1 rating on Portugal by a notch or two because of uncertain economic growth, the high cost of borrowing on global markets and worries about the banking sector.

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